<![CDATA[By Steve Mitchell
Chile fire a warning shot to their challengers
There was a carnival atmosphere in Santiago on Friday evening as Chile destroyed Bolivia 5-0 to top Group A. Arturo Vidal put the events of last week behind him and was included in the starting XI as the host nation laid down a marker that suggested that they have the ability to win the competition on home soil. Despite their defeat, Bolivia also qualify for the knock-out phase after Ecuador’s win earlier in the day against Mexico, eliminated both countries from the tournament.
Group A Final Standings:
Argentina ease into last eight, Uruguay scrape through
In Group B, Uruguay had a crucial final match against Paraguay, who were already guaranteed a place in the quarter-final. In a re-run of the 2011 final, they got their noses in front thanks to a first-half goal by defender JoséGiménez but when Lucas Barrios levelled for Paraguay on the stroke of half-time, the uncertainty of qualification for the defending champions reared its ugly head once more.
A 1-1 final score line ensured Paraguay would qualify in second position whilst Uruguay would progress as one of the two best third placed teams. They now face the hosts in Santiago on Wednesday evening. There were no problems for pre-tournament favourites Argentina, a 1-0 win over Jamaica saw them ease into the quarter-finals where they will now face Colombia in Viñadel Mar on Friday.
Group B Final Standings:
Brazil qualify in top spot
Without their talisman Neymar, Brazil overcame Venezuela 2-1 in Santiago on Sunday evening to top Group C. PSG defender Thiago Silva scored their opener after only nine minutes and Roberto Firmino effectively settled the contest six minutes after half-time. With the appeal against Neymar’s four match ban for head-butting an opponent imminent, coach Dunga may have to devise a strategy to play the remainder of the tournament without his star player. Brazil take on Paraguay in Concepción on Saturday.
Brazil’s victory spared Colombia’s blushes after their 1-1 draw against Peru left qualification in the balance. Los Cafeteros needed a positive outcome in the other group match to ensure their own passage to the knock-out phase as the other best third placed team. The bad news for coach JoséPékerman is that his team now has to face Lionel Messi and Co in the last eight. Peru have been one of the surprise packages in this tournament and will start as favourites in their quarter-final clash against Bolivia in Temuco on Thursday.
Group C Final Standings:
Wednesday 24th June
Chile v Uruguay – Santiago
Thursday 25th June
Bolivia v Peru – Temuco
Friday 26th June
Argentina v Colombia – Viña del Mar
Saturday 27th June
Brazil v Paraguay – Concepción]]>